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  • Avoid this Mistake and Make a Good First Impression at a Career Fair

    September 29th, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Our Career Fair is happening this Friday. Online registration is now closed, but if you have not registered, don’t worry. You can still come to the fair and register on-site. As long as you are a Georgetown student or alumnus, of course.

    You know that there’s a career fair happening. What should you do to get ready for it? I am going to give you my best piece of advice. Don’t approach an employer and ask, “What do you do?” I have spoken with employers over the years at our career fairs about what impresses them when they meet students in this kind of wholesale setting. Again and again, employers tell me that the behavior that leaves them with the most negative impression is a student asking the employer what their organization does.

    When you speak with an employer, you need to be conversant in the work their organization does.

    How do you do that when there are 101 employers at one event? Read the rest of this entry »

    The Elevator Speech

    March 23rd, 2011, 5:07 pm

    This is an excerpt from our Senior Handbook, a guide we have written to help seniors prepare for life after graduation. The Senior Handbook is now available for download on our Web site.

    Not every networking opportunity has the structure of an informational interview.  For less formal situations, such as a conversation at a conference, you can prepare by drafting and practicing an elevator speech.  An elevator speech is a commercial of sorts that concisely describes your relevant qualifications, accomplishments, and goals as you move forward.  Preparing a personal pitch helps you control your first impression, convey confidence, and articulate what you’re seeking.

    An example might be as follows:

    “Hello, Dr. Smith.  I attended your session this morning and appreciated your insights regarding BCM theory.  My name is Jack Walter, and I hope to be a future colleague someday.  As a sophomore at Georgetown University, I have been taking coursework in biology and neuroscience as well as working in a lab at the Georgetown Medical Center.  I plan to matriculate directly into a masters program so that I can participate in neural network research.   I am particularly interested in your work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  May I e-mail you next week to ask some questions about your research there and how I can position myself for work like yours?”

    Essentially, an elevator speech should follow the format below.  Of course, there is room for flexibility depending on your goals and context:

    1. Who I am.
    2. What I want (short-term, long-term).
    3. My academic and experiential background (as it relates to what I want).
    4. What I can contribute to your organization (not necessary for informational interview).
    5. What I’m hoping you’ll do for me.

    Career Fair Myth vs. Reality, Myths 5 & 6

    September 28th, 2010, 5:24 pm

    MYTH 5: “I might receive a job offer during the Career Fair.”

    The Reality: Unlikely! Employers are not coming to the Career Fair to hire someone on the spot. They’re coming to meet strong potential candidates, learn more about your experiences and skills, and to talk about their company’s hiring process. As you may have read in the other career fair myths blog posts this week, they’re coming to network and share information. Remember that some employers can’t even collect résumés at the fair because of federal regulations, so use this time at the fair to make a quick positive first impression, get feedback on your résumé, and learn valuable information that will help you be a stronger candidate on your application. Then remember to follow up with the employers and recruiters you meet with so that they remember you and start forging a relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

    Career Fair Myth vs. Reality, Myths 3 & 4

    September 27th, 2010, 4:24 pm

    MYTH 3: “All I need to do is show up on the day of the Career Fair”

    The Reality: Our employers have high expectations and in this down economy, you want to stand out and be prepared every chance you get. I know how much time you spend on the computer, checking your gmail and looking at photos on Facebook. I admit, I’m guilty of the same, so it really shouldn’t be too much trouble to stay on for an extra 15 minutes and do a little bit of research on the participating employers. In that time, you can look at the list, check out their available positions, read through their Web sites, and look through their career opportunities.  Jot down a few notes to help you come up with some good questions for each employer.  Do not ask them, “So what does your company do?”  It will make you sound uninformed and lazy, and who wants to hire someone with those qualities?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Career Fair: Myth vs. Reality, Myths 1 & 2

    September 24th, 2010, 11:50 am

    Myth 1: “The Career Fair is only for business students or seniors.”
    The Reality: The Career Fair is for everyone!  We aim to bring a variety of employers from all different industry areas that also recruit for a wide array of positions.  Our employers recruit for internships and full-time positions so students from all years can take advantage of the fair.  Do your homework, look at the list of participating employers, and don’t just stop at the name of the company or the industry they represent.  Check out the positions they’ll be recruiting for. Check out their Web sites to see what departments or opportunities may be available.  For example, one technology company is hiring for a marketing/communications position and one public policy research employer is looking for an editorial and marketing intern.  Go beyond the obvious and look.

    Myth 2: “The Career Fair is a waste of time because the employers won’t take my resume and they will just tell me to apply online.”
    The Reality: Since 2006, there are federal regulations that define what a job applicant is and how employers must manage applicant data. Some employers choose not to collect résumés at career fairs because of their interpretations of that law.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Maintaining Your Professional Network

    September 15th, 2010, 3:51 pm

    “Take my card and stay in touch,” says the woman in 27D, following a mid-flight conversation about her business and your major.

    “Take my card and stay in touch,” says your internship supervisor on your last day of work for his non-profit organization.

    “Take my card and stay in touch,” says your favorite professor after an hour of coffee and talk of your thesis.

    “Thanks,” you say to your contacts, while wondering what in the world you’ll do with a pile of business cards.

    Students often tell me that while it’s been easy for them to make connections with others while taking classes, working on or off campus, or attending social functions, they’re not sure how to utilize or maintain the network they’ve built as they consider career options and apply for positions.

    Below you’ll find five simple ideas for maintaining your network throughout the school year and even after you graduate:
    Read the rest of this entry »